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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 31 March, 2020

Over half of voters would back a limited liberalisation of Ireland's abortion law

A referendum on the topic is set to take place next year.

Protesters marching at the sixth annual March for Choice in Dublin last week
Protesters marching at the sixth annual March for Choice in Dublin last week
Image: Sam Boal/

VOTERS WOULD BACK a limited liberalisation of Ireland’s abortion law, according to a new opinion poll.

More than half of 1,200 people (57%) surveyed for an Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll would prefer a vote allowing limited access to abortion – such as in cases of rape, fatal foetal abnormality and a threat to the life of the woman.

However, only a third (35%) said they would support a referendum calling for general access to abortion up to 22 weeks. Half of people surveyed said they would vote against such a proposal, while 15% said they were unsure.

Seven out of 10 voters say they would vote in favour of limited access to abortion in a referendum, with 17% against and 12% unsure.

One in 10 people surveyed said they are against having a referendum on the topic at all, while 8% are unsure.

Citizens’ Assembly 

In April, members of the Citizens’ Assembly voted to replace or amend the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution – which gives equal status to the mother and the foetus.

The Assembly recommended that abortions should be allowed without restriction up to the 12th week of pregnancy and for “socioeconomic reasons” up to the 22nd week of pregnancy. In cases of fatal foetal abnormality, it recommended terminations be permitted during any period of the pregnancy.

Earlier this week, 55% of people surveyed by Amarách Research said they would vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

The results of the poll, conducted for RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live, show that 14% of people would not back repealing the amendment, while 31% said they were unsure.

The Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment is currently considering the Assembly’s recommendations before submitting a report to the Oireachtas in December. A referendum is expected to take place by next June.

Read: Over half of people say they’d vote ‘to repeal’ in a referendum on the Eighth Amendment

Read: How Dublin’s March for Choice was reported around the world

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Órla Ryan

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